5 Boro Amazing Race 2013

I don't even know where to start with this post...  Ok, I'll start at the very beginning (a very good place to start).
One of Matt's friends one time mentioned that one of his bucket list items was going to all 5 NYC boros in one day.  Matt said it was easy and he could just hop on a subway right then and accomplish it.  His friend, Steve, said that he wanted an actual reason to hit all 5 in one day.  And so it was born.  Matt created an Amazing Race specifically for his friends and specifically for NYC.  I wasn't a part of the 5 Boro Amazing Race 2012, but I saw pictures and it looked like a blast!  Matt created clues that you couldn't just google to solve (like a sudoko which replaced some numbers with letters and once you solved it one row spelled out the address you were headed to).  In some locations, the teams had to send a video or picture to Matt to prove they had gotten to that check point, and then Matt sent them the next clue.

There was even a write-up about this years event in a local paper, featuring a picture from last years!
One of the comments from that first year, was that the teams wanted people at the locations.  Sometimes it was unclear they had made it to the right spot, and just generally it's more fun to get somewhere and interact with someone rather than just take a picture and leave.
And that's where the family came in :-)  I was unsure how well a non-New Yorker would do in this, despite Matt's reassurance that it was really about figuring out the clue rather than knowledge of NYC.  Becky and I still offered our help rather than forming a team, and Mom and Dad were down.  Patti was supposed to be at a wedding with Ed out of the city, but with her due date fast approaching, her doctor thought it would be better to hang out.  Sorry Ed, but we sure enjoyed seeing Patti and Cole for the weekend!  (I'll post pictures featuring our adventures with them in my next post!)  Becky and I were going to hang out in this park in Brooklyn, Dad and Matt would be in Queens meeting the teams there, and Matt had two friends waiting in the Bronx, so only two of the locations this year involved sending a picture or video proof.  Dad had the idea that we should all be wearing the same shirts, and he and Mom stayed up until midnight one night stenciling all of these shirts (and 3 more for Matt's other helpers!) so that the teams would know they had gotten to the right location!  Also, I didn't know half of the people participating, so them knowing to run up to me by my shirt made it all very easy!

So we put a canoe on the roof of the van (more on that later) and drove on up to NYC!
His theme this year was crime scenes.  He was sending teams to where a crime had occurred, and they had to do something good to kind of counteract the bad.  Becky and I were at Bath Beach Park in Brooklyn, where Son of Sam killed his last victim.  Sounds creepy, but it's this cute little neighborhood park.  And when the teams got there, we handed them a trash bag to clean up trash for 5 minutes, then they traded us the bag of trash for the next clue.  Pretty awesome, right?
The race started at the Staten Island Ferry from Manhattan at noon.  The weather was perfect and would be all day. The Event Staff were suited up and ready.
Unfortunately, some subway construction delayed some teams getting to the ferry, but Matt figured out a good way to get them their first clues and necessary items for the race!
Becky and I got to our park around 1:15, per Matt's instructions.  We soon got a text from him saying that the earliest team probably wouldn't be there before 2:15, sooo, Becky and I had a photo shoot by the pedestrian bridge over Belt Parkway, overlooking the Verrazano Narrows and the water.  Enjoy!
We picked a park bench with the best shade we could get and were in it for the long haul.  Here is Becky showing off the trash bags and next clues that we would be handing out.
It wasn't until 2:45, and lots of "is that a team?!" happening, that we locked in on two guys headed towards us.  Both walking with a purpose, both wearing white shirts, backpacks, hats, and khaki shorts.  Becky stood up on our bench and waved, and they came running at us!  We handed them their trash bag and our first good deed was being performed for this park :-)
After 5 minutes of collecting trash, we gave them their next clue.
They started to solve it before asking if this was their next location or not.  Never wanting to give too much away, Becky and I were worried about what we could and couldn't say.  We decided honesty was best, and told them they already had their next location clue, this was the location after that.  They sped off, already knowing the next location, and hoping to solve this clue on the road.
We soon had many teams wandering around picking up trash!
These three teams had teamed up, and were struggling with their next location clue.  While they sat and tried to figure it out, these three boys came up and were asking lots of questions.  They even received some offers of money to solve the clue, but they turned it down :-)
Becky and I soon had a pile of garbage bags full of trash picked up from around the park!
Team Sunshine was pretty sad to be so far behind (they had been one of the teams to miss the Ferry), but they take a great picture!
Want to see the clue that lead the teams to our location?  You already know the answer, but see if you can solve this madness...
With the last of the teams accounted for, Becky and I grabbed coffee (we were exhausted and we weren't even racing!) and headed back to Manhattan to see Mom, Patti and Cole before everyone met up later that night at the finish!  This of course meant train platform photo shoot.  Enjoy!
While we were train platform photoshooting, the teams were hitting up other stops in NYC!  A sample below of pictures I stole from facebook...

They wrote love notes to fellow Amazing Racers in the Bronx (not the original intent of this task, but hilarious results nonetheless).

They solved clues in Staten Island...
They paddled a canoe across Newtown Creek with Dad's help, who then dropped them off on tracks, hahaha.
They walked along these train tracks to write "The rent is too damn high" in front of the now-closed M Wells diner in Queens.  (PS- this is my favorite photo from the event- thank you Jenny and Steve for making it happen, haha)
 They sang their favorite Beatles song at the Imagine Shrine to John Lennon in Central Park.
And generally had a pretty good time doing it!
The race went much later than Matt thought it would, with teams still finishing past 9pm.  But we all met up at a bar, and prizes were awarded.  Each team had to bring an object of no huge worth, but the sentimentality had to be great.  Each team picked a prize in order of their finish, and one team was very happy to chug that powerade at the end!

Matt, you did a fantastic job making up clues, organizing, and making sure everyone saw a little bit more of their city!
I can't wait for next year!  Maybe I'll compete next time...  Hey you, wanna be on my team?

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